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How to Make Homemade Ham and Cheese Macaroni

Jan has been cooking and writing about food for over 20 years. She has cooked on multiple television stations, including the Food Network.

The perfect recipe for leftover ham, this macaroni comes together in no time. A delicious comfort food!

The perfect recipe for leftover ham, this macaroni comes together in no time. A delicious comfort food!

Homemade Ham and Cheese Macaroni

Ham is our go-to for holidays—it's easy, it's delicious, and everybody loves it. The only problem is that leftovers seem to hang around forever, and there's only so much ham you can manage to eat in a week!

Enter some of my favorite recipes—the ones that transform leftover ham into something that doesn't feel like "oh no, ham again?" This macaroni and cheese is just plain perfect. You can use between two and four cups of ham, the sauce is delicious, and it's filling and hearty enough to use as a main dish. Best of all, it takes very little time and effort, and the whole family loves the results.

Try this recipe, and you'll agree. It's the perfect go-to after a big holiday. Rich, delicious, and easy. Win-win!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound macaroni, cooked according to the package directions
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 2 cups diced leftover ham
  • 8-10 ounces cheddar, grated
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  1. Butter a 9x13 casserole dish. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Over medium heat, melt the butter. Once foaming, stir in the flour and stir well until fully incorporated and smooth. Add onion and stir well. Add cream cheese and stir until smooth.
  3. Add milk in batches, whisking well after each addition, stirring until smooth after each addition.
  4. Once milk incorporated, add evaporated milk if using. Add grated cheese, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add seasonings—salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, hot sauce, and mustard. Stir well.
  5. Pour cheese sauce over noodles in a casserole dish, and stir well.
  6. In a small bowl, stir together panko, melted butter, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole dish.
  7. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes or until bubbly throughout and the top is golden brown.

Photo Tutorial

Cook a pound of macaroni according to package directions, usually about ten minutes in salted water at a full boil. You can substitute other pasta if you wish; cavatappi or bow ties work great, too!

Cook a pound of macaroni according to package directions, usually about ten minutes in salted water at a full boil. You can substitute other pasta if you wish; cavatappi or bow ties work great, too!

I like using extra sharp cheddar for this dish. The flavor is really terrific against the ham, and it plays really well with the cream cheese.

I like using extra sharp cheddar for this dish. The flavor is really terrific against the ham, and it plays really well with the cream cheese.

Not strictly necessary for binding the macaroni and cheese, eggs certainly bring a lot of richness to the party. Just a couple of eggs is all it takes, but they really elevate the dish.

Not strictly necessary for binding the macaroni and cheese, eggs certainly bring a lot of richness to the party. Just a couple of eggs is all it takes, but they really elevate the dish.

I like grating the onion instead of mincing. The very fine texture practically disappears in the final dish. When grated, more liquid is released, and it becomes really nice and subtle.

I like grating the onion instead of mincing. The very fine texture practically disappears in the final dish. When grated, more liquid is released, and it becomes really nice and subtle.

Garlic powder, onion powder, hot sauce, dry mustard, kosher salt, and black pepper are all it takes to really dress up this macaroni and cheese, highlighting the flavors of the rich cheddar sauce without overwhelming it.

Garlic powder, onion powder, hot sauce, dry mustard, kosher salt, and black pepper are all it takes to really dress up this macaroni and cheese, highlighting the flavors of the rich cheddar sauce without overwhelming it.

Two cups of diced ham is all it takes, although you can add up to four cups if you wish. I like dicing it nice and fine, but you can leave it chunkier if you wish.

Two cups of diced ham is all it takes, although you can add up to four cups if you wish. I like dicing it nice and fine, but you can leave it chunkier if you wish.

I like using whole milk when making the bechamel; the flavor is just much richer. The finished sauce is silkier and smoother, as well.

I like using whole milk when making the bechamel; the flavor is just much richer. The finished sauce is silkier and smoother, as well.

Evaporated milk and a quarter cup of all-purpose flour are all it takes to finish the bechamel. Strictly speaking, you can use another cup and a half of whole milk instead of the evaporated milk, but the evaporated milk makes the sauce nice and rich.

Evaporated milk and a quarter cup of all-purpose flour are all it takes to finish the bechamel. Strictly speaking, you can use another cup and a half of whole milk instead of the evaporated milk, but the evaporated milk makes the sauce nice and rich.

Bake the macaroni and cheese until hot and bubbly all the way through. Allow it to rest for about 5 minutes . . . then serve and enjoy!

Bake the macaroni and cheese until hot and bubbly all the way through. Allow it to rest for about 5 minutes . . . then serve and enjoy!

For the Perfect Ham to Use...

© 2019 Jan Charles